Updated | Malta allows in Sea-Eye vessel, migrants to be relocated amongst EU member states

After Italy refused to offer a safe port to the MV Alan Kurdi, Germany requests Malta to allow vessel in for relocation of 40 rescued migrants

The Alan Kurdi is waiting 24 miles off the Maltese coast with 40 rescued migrants on board
The Alan Kurdi is waiting 24 miles off the Maltese coast with 40 rescued migrants on board

The Maltese government has allowed the migrants picked up by the German-registered vessel MV Alan Kurdi to disembark in Malta, on a request by the German government.

The NGO Sea-Eye had earlier on called on Malta to offer a safe port to a group of 40 migrants currently stranded on board the rescue vessel.

The migrants were rescued on Wednesday evening by the NGO-operated rescue vessel but were refused permission to disembark passengers in Lampedusa, the nearest safe port to the location where the rescue took place.

The Maltese government said in a statement that the German government, together with the European Commission, had made arrangements for all 40 persons on board to be immediately distributed amongst a number of EU member states.

None of the rescued migrants will remain in Malta.

The mainly West African people hail from the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana, Liberia and Togo.

In a video uploaded to Twitter, Einsatzleiter Barbara Held, who is on board the ship said that the conditions on the ship were good, but insisted that the situation could not be mainted forever.

“We are currently 24 miles off the Maltese coast as Italy has rejected us several times, although they should be obliged to designate Lampedusa as our next safe port,” Held said.

“We are fully aware that the responsibility lies not with Malta but with Italy. Malta has already achieved a great deal in recent years by hosting refugees for over a decade. That is why we hope for a humanitarian solution and hope Malta will receive these people and that European states will fulfill their responsibilities and ensure that our guests are distributed to safe countries.”

On Friday, the NGO said that it had set course for Malta after being denied entry into Lampedusa on Thursday night.

The migrants were rescued from a rubber boat which was in distress, roughly 29 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. Among those rescued are two women, one of whom is six months pregnant, as well as three infants, aged one, two and four.

It is unclear whether an official request for disembarkation has been made with local authorities.

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